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Fireside chat with Jose Forteza: Diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion in media

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America for Vogue, GQ and AD, Jose Forteza, sat one-on-one with Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder, Albania Rosario, during fireside chat at the third annual Latinas in Business Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit, where they discussed the important topic of diversity and inclusion in mainstream media. Touching on body positivity, ethnic and racial inclusion, and LGBTQ+ representation and visibility, their fireside chat delved into how the media can support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs and be more inclusive of their stories. 

Jose Forteza, diversity and inclusion in media

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America for Vogue, GQ and AD, Jose Forteza speaks on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the media.

Born in Havana of Spanish and Cuban descent, José Forteza has lived in Europe, Dominican Republic and the United States. Currently, Forteza is the Senior Editor of Condé Nast (Vogue, GQ and AD) for Mexico and Latin America, and has been in Condé Nast Publications for more than 20 years.

The fascinating creator has explored every aspect of the arts including dance, music and publishing. He is a TV writer, producer and radio host. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award and is a Producer Grammy Award winner.

An expert in the media world, Forteza shared insights on how mainstream media can support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, share their stories, and be more inclusive of the diverse multitude of women in our communities. 

Fireside Chat with Jose Forteza on how mainstream media can support women entrepreneurs 

The 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit, held virtually on June 10th, connected women entrepreneurs, business owners, and industry leaders in a powerful, educational experience aimed to give women entrepreneurs the tools they need to grow their businesses and THRIVE! post-pandemic. 

From panels and deep-dive workshops, to our high-powered fireside chat here with Jose Forteza, leaders and experts shared their knowledge and experience to further empower and inspire our community of women entrepreneurs. 

Forteza’s conversation with FDLA’s Albania Rosario touched on the impact of mainstream media and how the media can help to support women entrepreneurs and women-owned brands and businesses to be more inclusive of diversity within the community. 

Albania opened the conversation by asking Jose to speak on the topic of plus size models and the body positivity movement that we have been seeing over the past several years in recent media. 

Albania: The body acceptance among consumers has led several media outlets to feature models with diverse body shapes and sizes. How has the audience reacted to these non-traditional models and how society views the plus size battle in body and health? 

Jose: Well this is something that started, I would say like ten years ago, and now has settled down with very strong, strong, strong acceptance levels from the audience and from the media outlets at the same time….First of all, all the media started showing different size models and ethnic models. At the beginning some outlets were hesitant to do it, but then step by step it’s been increasingly positive. Right now, I would say that, especially for in the case of Vogue Latin America, where I work, it’s nothing out of the usual thing if we include different different size models and different ethnic models, we are just including beautiful women, talented women, and that’s all that matters. 

Missed the conversation? View the full chat below and Subscribe to Latinas In Business on YouTube to catch up on our other 2021 WEES highlights and future videos!   

Inclusivity for LGBTQ+ Latinx in the media 

Jose Forteza and Albania continued their conversation of diversity and inclusion in media by touching on the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Latinx narratives and why this representation is important in the media. 

As many know, June is Pride Month, a time when the LGBTQ+ community comes together in celebration. Often marked by parades, festivals, and concerts across the globe, Pride is about community and visibility, both a celebration but also a movement. The historical roots of Pride is often forgotten beneath the parades and parties, but Pride Month is also a month of remembrance and tribute for those who participated in the Stonewall Riots. 

LGBTQ+

Why diversity and inclusion in media matters. (Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash)

The Stonewall Riots began on n New York on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. Among the many leaders of the riots was a black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson, leading the movement to continue over six days with protests. The message of these protests was a demand for the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

Following the Stonewall Riots came the first Pride Parade, organized by Brenda Howard as the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This eventually morphed into what we now know as the New York City Pride March and was the catalyst for the formation of similar parades and marches across the world.

Pride month reminds us of the struggles LGBTQ+ people have endured just to be able to be themselves in the open without shame or fear. In 1969, the Stonewall Riots fought for the right to gather, to have a community, to feel safe and seen. Similarly, the push for inclusion and representation of LGBTQ+ identities in the mainstream media is a continuation of this fight to be seen and accepted. 

Albania and Jose continued their conversation by discussing how the mainstream media has evolved over recent years to be more accepting and inclusive of all identities and sexualities. 

Albania: How is the media reflecting the LGBTQ+ visibility issue and how inclusive are the outlets being with trans and lesbian women when approaching the subject of empowering women? 

Jose: Well, honestly that has been a slower process. And I wouldn’t be honest if I said that all the media outlets are embracing the diversity in terms of sexual preferences and lifestyle.  Fortunately, most of them, many them–again in our case Conde Nast, Vogue, GQ–we have reached the point where, again, what matters is what a person is able to give society and what a person has to inspire society. It doesn’t matter if they are a member of the LGBTIAQ+ community or not, for us everything is mainstream. For us what should be important is what these people are showing society and what these people are giving to society….Now it’s more important than ever for the media outlets to reflect them all…and show what they can give and set as an example to succeed in society. 

You might be interested: Latina community leader in the Bronx inspiring service across gender and cultures

Jose goes on to discuss how in the past, media outlets were often focused on being one thing, such as a fashion magazine or lifestyle magazine, but now these outlets are simply “platforms” to show society all that is possible and positive for society. Platforms now are celebrating the differences and bringing diverse stories to greater audiences, from body positivity and racial and ethic inclusion to LGBTQ+ visibility. Diversity and inclusion in these platforms helps show others that their stories are important and valuable and that success can be possible for them too.

Alice Rodriguez: Overcoming obstacles and the power to succeed in business and life

The 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (WEES) was a day full of inspiration and empowerment. With inspiring guest speakers, panels from industry leaders, and interactive deep-dive workshops, the event centered on giving entrepreneurs the tools to THRIVE! post-pandemic. One of the main moments at 2021 WEES was hearing from Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Alice Rodriguez

Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“She is a person who is raising the bar for Latinas in Business and I’m absolutely grateful for her presence here,” said Susana G Baumann, President and founder of Latinas in Business when she introduced Alice.

With over 30 years of extensive banking experience at JP Morgan Chase and positions in business banking, consumer banking, Alice Rodriguez serves a leading role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategies. 

“Congratulations for this wonderful summit, and all the wonderful content you are providing to Latina entrepreneurs is so important,” says Alice Rodriguez while opening her speech. 

Below, Alice shares three key aspects from her presentation to empower YOU to succeed. 

“Lessons learned from my Sheroe”

“Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” Alice begins.

Alice’s great “sheroe” was her mother, Alicia Nuñez Ramírez who had the most impact on her life. 

“This was a woman who came to this country when she was 15 years old,” Alice shares. “My grandfather died when she was 12 years old and my mother came to a family of 12 and it was very difficult for my grandmother to raise all of those children by herself. So she sent her children away to live with another family while my mother ended up living with an aunt in Texas.  She met my father who was from the US and they started our family.” 

Growing up, Alice saw how her mother overcame a lot of adversity. “She had this very strong ability to never get flustered, which I learned from her and I believe she was completely ahead of her time.  She was a strong independent Latina that just did not take a no for an answer and I recognize that I stand on her shoulder. She came here with a middle school education and it didn’t stop her from learning. She taught me everything, how important family is, values, faith, how to create your own success and take a risk. She was always figuring out how to get over those barriers.” 

One of the most important lessons she taught Alice was “‘Life is not fair’ so you can’t sit there and see how things don’t go your way. You have to figure out how to get back or what you need to do in order to change the path that you are currently on,” Alice says. 

She continues, “When I think about my mom and Latinas today… Latinos are making such an impact in this country. According to a Neilsen report, every generation of Latinas are making great progress when it comes to education. For Latinas that are 50 or older, 13% of Latinas have a Bachelor’s Degree. If you are between 35 and 49 that number goes up to 18% and if you are between 25 and 35 years old that number is 19%.” 

Alice Rodriguez’s mother did not read or write. She had a seventh-grade education. Then Alice was the first in her  family to graduate from College. Finally, two days ago Alice’s youngest daughter who’s now 29 graduated from her 3-year residence in John Hopkins. 

“I am a real example of those statistics on the great strides that Latinas are making. It’s not just education, it’s also what we see in politics,” says Alice. “There’s no question that Latinas are making a very big impact in entrepreneurship.”

Alice Rodriguez speaking virtually at the 2021 WEES.

You might be interested: Congrats to all our 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awardees!

Amazing statistics on Latino power

“I want to share with you really important statistics that are not shown in the media. Everybody knows we have 61 million Latinos in this country, a number that is growing very fast and the economic activity that Latinos are providing to this country is significant. If we say ‘Latinos are their own country’ it will be the 8th largest in the world. Larger than Italy, South Korea or Brazil. The labor participation for Latinos has been extremely strong.”

Alice continues, “A large number of baby-boomers are retiring every month. If you were a country that didn’t know where your population is going to come from you would be extremely worried.  The good news is Latino participation is growing and this is where I became super optimistic about the real economic power that Latinos have and how we need an equal system.” 

“As we look at Latino-owned businesses in this country, there are 5 million and growing and Latinas are growing 6 times faster than the overall coverage. Which brings me to what I am doing in the Hispanic US Chamber and JP Morgan Chase as the Head of Community Impact. At the Chamber we see this economic power and we know that is real and we are working very hard in what we call the 3 Cs: 

  1. Capital: We recognize that Latino-owned businesses really need to have this access to capital and also the work that we are doing with the administration, with banks is extremely critical. 
  2. The second C is connections. I don’t have to tell this group how many organizations out there are very focused in really engaging minority suppliers and this is a really great opportunity to have all of you prepared to be able to do business at a larger level and so the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is really providing those introductions so those procurement opportunities are available at the Federal level, al the local level and obviously at the corporate level. 
  3. And the third C is Capacity Building; so we are very blessed to have 250 local chambers that we are working very closely every day and we recognize not every chamber has the same capabilities so our ability to build capacity with them has been critical. It includes more webinars, more content, etc.

“In JP Morgan Chase. I had a very long career and what I’m doing today is one of the most impactful assignments I ever had. We have to be sure that we are bringing the power to our local communities, how we can help with that mentoring, with that coaching, with that advising. We are very excited about the programs we put in place and more importantly we believe that this five-year commitment that we made is really going to be an opportunity to provide more access to many Latinas in businesses in this country. 

I want to leave you with a few takeaways

Alice concluded her presentation with a few key takeaways that every entrepreneur and business owner could use to help them grow and THRIVE! in business and in life. 

“Really take care of your financial health,” is Alice’s first recommendation. “Knowing the details of your business and really understanding your own credit and where you are in income perspective. Spend the time. There are lots of resources to help with that.”

“The second is that you have to love a lot of paperwork, if you don’t like it you just have to get over it,” Alice continues. “Be sure that you have the right CPA, that you have an accountant, that you have a lawyer, that you have a banker and more important that you have a relationship with the banker. This is critical and we discovered during this pandemic how critical it was in order to get the resources that were available.” 

Third, is no surprise to any entrepreneur. “Network, network, network. It’s important to keep up with the people that you meet, understanding what their background is because you never know when you are going to need that person. Even if that person can’t help you, they can always connect you to the right person that perhaps can help you.” 

Finally, more important than anything else is self-care. Without taking care of yourself, everything else will unravel. 

“I think as Latinas, as women, we want to do it all,” says Alice. “But we just are human beings like everybody else and if we don’t slow down and really take care of ourselves, physically, mentally we are not going to do anyone any good and we are certainly not going to do our professional lives any good. Take that time. Some people meditate, some people exercise, some people just don’t do anything. Pick whatever works for you but more important, take care of yourself.” 

2021 latina leaders awards

Congrats to all our 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awardees!

Last Thursday, June 10th, Latinas in Business co-hosted the third annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit and Latina Leaders Awards, alongside Berkeley College for a day of inspiration, empowerment, and networking as entrepreneurs gained the tools to THRIVE! post-pandemic. 

2021 latina leaders awards

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony honored 12 influential Latina Leaders featured on Latinas in Business this past year.

This year’s unique hybrid event featured virtual panels with industry leaders, inspiring Keynote Speakers, and deep-dive workshops in three key areas: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation. 

Read the full event recap here

Following the virtual portion of the event was the 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony and reception, broadcasted live from New York City. The beautiful ceremony saw 12 influential Latina Leaders from the past year honored for their success as entrepreneurs and community leaders. 

The stunning Daneida Polanco of Univision, presented the awards alongside Latinas in Business’s CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, in a heartwarming ceremony that gathered and celebrated not only our Latina Leaders, but Latina entrepreneurs everywhere. 

While some of our Awardees were not able to be at the live ceremony due to distance and travel restriction, it was still a touching moment as we honored each Latina Leader for their amazing achievements. For those that were there at our live reception, hugs were all around as guests and speakers took to the podium, many meeting in person only for the first time after a year of virtual communication. 

The “Unstoppable” Latinas in Business Executive Board with Susana G Baumann, President and CEO

We were especially moved by the tribute and memorial to the life of Jessica Asencio delivered by her sister, Shirley, who accepted the Latina Leader Award on the late Jessica’s behalf. Shirley shared a beautiful poem of Jessica’s and reminded us all of Jessica’s warm, loving spirit. Jessica’s life and memory will be remembered always by the Latinas in Business community. 

We also heard from Awardee Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, in a virtual acceptance video that highlighted the effects COVID-19 has had on women around the world. 

Susana G Baumann with Small Business Champion, Wendy Garcia. 

Receiving the Small Business Champion Award was Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer, NYC Office of the Comptroller Scott Stringer. Wendy has embodied the title of “champion” with her work as Chief Diversity Officer where she is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Wendy also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Guest Speaker Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn alongside Daneida Polanco of Univision.

We then had the honor to welcome Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn as a guest speaker. As Assemblymember of NY and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn she has worked to develop programs and opportunities for minority and women owned small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. It was a great honor to hear her speak and we thank Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn for her support in our event and the beautiful certificates she provided to our Awardees. 

Following the 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony, guests were invited to the live beautiful reception to further connect and celebrate the success of women entrepreneurs. 

It was certainly a night to remember! We look forward to our next event where we will continue to Learn. Connect. Succeed! And THRIVE! 

THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit first recap and highlights 

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and industry leaders gathered last night to THRIVE! for the third annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit, a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs to Learn. Connect. Succeed!   

This year, the summit focused on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights to propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic so they can grow their businesses to the next level. 

This amazing event featured stellar guest speakers, inspiring panels with industry leaders, and motivating deep-dive workshops and group discussions that connected and inspired Latina and other minority women entrepreneurs, empowering them to take the next step in achieving their business goals and turn their dreams into actionable business plans. 

The virtual portion of the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit opened with introductions and welcoming remarks from Latinas in Business Inc. CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, and Berkeley College President, Michael J. Smith. 

Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Susana G Baumann opening the 2021 WEES

“Latinas in Business has grown exponentially in 2020-2021, and achieved many of the goals we had for this fiscal year including extending our national footprint and completing our Executive Board with 6 unstoppable Latinas! However, for small businesses and especially Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, this has been a difficult year of survival. ” Baumann said.

“In a glooming and already unequal pre-pandemic environment, from solopreneurs under the risk of losing their homes to small enterprises letting go of all their hired labor, it is estimated that around two-thirds of Latino businesses were at risk of closing their doors for good or significantly reduce their operations,” she continued.

“We have designed this Summit with these female entrepreneurs in mind: young start-ups, mothers running their businesses from home while caregiving and home-schooling, those struggling to expand and grow their business with funding that is not always available for them; and finally, sharing the business innovation knowledge and information they need to make the jump to this new environment where virtual is here to stay!” she stated.

And concluded, “We are inviting you to participate in this unique opportunity, to hear from these inspiring speakers, learn from experts in their topics, and share your experiences, your questions, and your concerns. We want to learn from you as much as you can learn from us.”

The State of Latino Entrepreneurship 

We then heard from Claudia L. Dulac, Senior Vice President, New Jersey VP Local Market Executive, Bank of America, and Marlene Orozco, LBAN Researcher at Stanford University, who shared key insights from the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report.  

 

Claudia L Dulac, Bank of America, and Marlene Orozco, Stanford Researcher at Fireside Chat 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship.

Our Opening Keynote Speaker and presenting sponsor, Lucy Pinto, Program Manager of Grow with Google, noticing that after a year shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity for digital tools and resources for businesses has never been greater and in fact, since the pandemic began, 72% of Latino businesses are now using digital tools to reach customers online and keep their businesses open. 

This is why the work Lucy Pinto and the Grow with Google team do is so important. Grow with Google works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources by delivering free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses.

We were moved and empowered by their inspiring stories! 

Three inspiring women shared their stories of success in the face of adversity during our Women’s Panel: “THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success.” Against all odds, these women found the way through to embrace their inner power and THRIVE! 

Marvina Robinson, founder and CEO of Stuyvesant Champagne, shared her story of launching her champagne company in her hometown of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, NY and the challenges she faced as one of the few African American women owning a Champagne brand. She inspired us all when she shared her thoughts on dealing with “competition” in her field, emphasizing how she does not focus on competing at all! Instead, Marvina focuses on how she can improve her own business, bring the best experience to her customers, and ways to collaborate with others in her industry. 

Women’s Panel at 2021 WEES

We then heard from Jessie Gabriel, CEO and Founder of All Places, the go-to business and legal strategy firm for women asset managers and entrepreneurs. Jessie shared her struggles in the corporate world and how she felt very underappreciated at previous firms. Her ideas were not heard, her value undermined, and salary demands dismissed. These experiences began building a seed in her mind of a dream firm. Then, after a push from fellow women colleagues one night at dinner, Jessie was decided to start her own firm, All Places–the name a reference to the famous quote by the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Jessie’s story is an inspiration to all women who have big dreams and are ready to take charge of their careers that anything is possible when you take charge and turn your dreams into action plans.

Finally, Maria Piastre, President and CEO of Metallix Refining shared her story of rising up through the ranks in the male-dominated industry of metal refining. As President, Maria has brought to the position a new generation of values that transcends gender and instead is based in learning and reward based on individual merit. One of her greatest achievements as President is the value and focus placed on women employees, granting them fully compensated maternity leave and opportunities to grow in their careers. Her story is an inspiration to Latinas everywhere that there are no limits to what we can achieve.

You might be interested:  Final Lineup of Stellar Speakers to support THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Inspiration was all around during our deep-dive workshops 

Our deep-dive workshops inspired and empowered participants with the tools to THRIVE! From tackling areas of Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation, we learned how to turn dreams into action plans for success! 

We learned from Sandra Garcia how to optimize our business’ online presence and reach on Google. The “Taking Care of Your Inner Self: The Road to Resilience” Personal Power session taught us how to harness our potential by learning to manage stress, personal care, and relationships. And in the world of Financial Wellness, we learned what Series A can do for our businesses, and how to go about securing this crucial funding for the next stage of growth. 

Later, in our second session of Workshops, Dr. Ginny Baro taught us how to build on our strengths, prioritize our goals, and turn those dreams into our living reality with a motivational presentation and empowering post-workshop discussion. 

Get Dr. Ginny Baro’s PERSONAL POWER Toolkit

In the area of Business Innovation, Apple White and Dorothy Kahlau shared how integrating sustainable practices into a company’s operations can not only motivate employee engagement and encourage technological solutions, it can actually save their company money. 

And finally, for those interested in growing their business to a million-dollar company, Orlando Callegari and Peggy Paulson of Valley Bank shared key funding options and strategies to help your business grow to that next level! 

2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit, a beautiful and moving award’s ceremony 

Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

The “Unstoppable” Latinas in Business Executive Board with Susana G Baumann, President and CEO

Last but certainly not least, we ended the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit with the Latina Leaders Award Ceremony, broadcasted live from New York City. It was a beautiful and touching moment where we saw 12 influential Latina Leaders from the past year honored for their success as entrepreneurs and community leaders. 

The stunning Daneida Polanco of Univision presented the awards alongside Latinas in Business’s CEO and President, Susana G Baumann in a heartwarming ceremony that gathered and celebrated not only our Latina Leaders but Latina entrepreneurs everywhere. 

2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Maria Piastre, President, Metallix Refining, receives her Latina Leader Award.

It was a touching moment, seeing our guests and speakers take the podium, many meeting in person only for the first time after a year of virtual communication. Hugs were all around for our Awardees and speakers. 

We were especially moved by the tribute and memorial to the life of Jessica Asencio delivered by her sister, Shirley, who accepted the Latina Leader Award on the late Jessica’s behalf. Jessica’s life and memory will be remembered always by the Latinx community. 

The 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit was certainly a night to remember! We look forward to our next event where we will continue to Learn. Connect. Succeed! 

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn supports Latina entrepreneurs at 2021 WEES 

Latinas in Business is honored to welcome Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn as a guest speaker at tonight’s 2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony as part of the THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit. 

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. She is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), which serves to promote economic diversity in New York State.

A champion for small minority and women owned businesses

Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn is an accomplished leader, a former Wall Street banker, engineer and small business owner who has leveraged her experience in the free market to push public-private partnership initiatives across the state. She has sponsored legislation in the Assembly which reauthorized the MWBE program for five more years under article 15-A; raised the personal net worth cap for MWBE applicants from $3.5 million to $15 million, making more businesses eligible for the MWBE program; increased discretionary purchasing thresholds from $200,000 to $500,000; and created mentorship/workforce development programs as well as a pilot program that expands contracting opportunities for small/MWBE businesses with a total value of up to $20 million. Bichotte Hermelyn has established relationships with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Dept. of Design and Construction (DDC), School Construction Authority (SCA) and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY); and all have set MWBE hiring goals. 

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, surrounded by fellow Assemblymembers and members of the Women’s Builders Council, speaks about MWBE legislation and opportunities that exist for women. December 6, 2017 (Image source)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Bichotte Hermelyn hosted a webinar and participated in several panels with MWBE stakeholders to help them navigate the Coronavirus crisis and access resources, including grants and loans, and helped with strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. She provides annually, a platform that promotes networking, education, and resources for existing or potential MWBEs through a series of workshops at the National Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Conference. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. 

Her lifelong commitment to public service

Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn is also incredibly committed to public service. Since her election in 2010 as District Leader, she has used her position to facilitate and sponsor a number of community events in Flatbush, such as the first voter’s forum, which promoted fair elections, voters rights and voting demonstrations with the Board of Elections; the largest candidate forum in Brooklyn; annual senior luncheons; safe streets initiatives; and the largest Brooklyn funding forum to help non-profits learn how to access government funding.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and other community members gather together for a food distribution at the Flatbush Garden Community Center, June 12, 2020. (Image source)

Her advocacy centers on providing resources on affordable housing and home ownership, financial literacy of her communities, public safety initiatives and better relationships with law enforcement, affordable healthcare, high-quality public and private education, and economic development, especially for individuals seeking to open small businesses. She has lobbied in New York City, Albany and Washington as a District Leader for affordable housing and healthcare, against cuts for special education programs, an increase in the minimum wage, and growth in the small businesses and tech sector.

Now in her fourth term, it is Bichotte Hermelyn’s mission to continue to help those underrepresented and underserved in the business world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, gain access to capital, access mentorship programs and business networks, and get opportunities to develop their business skills.

2021 WEES

Last chance to REGISTER for today’s must-attend event for all entrepreneurs, business owners, and career oriented professionals. Get the tools you need to THRIVE! post-pandemic.

Professionally, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn has worked in a number of different capacities such as a New York Math teacher in the public school education system; an engineer in the telecommunications industry where she traveled to Japan and China on assignments; and an investment banker in the financial services industry structuring corporate finance deals. Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn was an MIT Fellow: Mel King Co-Lab Project. She earned and holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering both from Buffalo State College.

2021 WEES

Final Agenda for the spectacular must-attend THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Last day to register! Don’t miss this powerful must-attend event for all entrepreneurs, business owners, and career-oriented professionals. Get the tools you need to THRIVE! post-pandemic at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit. 

 #2021 WEES Register now and join us to THRIVE!

Join us at this year’s hybrid Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit, a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs to Learn. Connect. Succeed!   

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will feature various panels with industry leaders, inspiring guest speakers, deep-dive workshops, and our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

 

2021 WEES

 

Last day to Register! Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and a Personal Donation, we are now offering limited FREE tickets for our Summit. Please use Promo Code WEES100 at registration. 

THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit Agenda 

Opening Remarks

1:30 – 1:40 PM |  Welcome 

Welcoming remarks from Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann, and Berkeley College President, Michael J. Smith. 

1:40 – 1:55 PM |  Latino Entrepreneur Landscape Overview

The 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report provides organizations focused on supporting businesses (e.g., chambers of commerce, trade associations, economic development associations, etc.), think tanks, policymakers, and corporations with insights into the business outcomes of Latino-owned businesses to inform data-driven policy and programs. Business owners are operating in largely uncertain and unprecedented times, and we would like to thank those who contributed their data to ensure that the stakeholders listed above can work together to reshape and rebuild the U.S. economy.

Facilitator: Claudia L. Dulac, Senior Vice President, New Jersey Local Market Executive, Bank of America

Speaker: Marlene Orozco, LBAN Researcher, Stanford University

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

1:55 – 2:00 PM |  Opening Keynote Speaker Lucy Pinto, Program Manager, Grow with Google

Deep Dive Workshops

2:00 – 2:30 PM |  Workshop Session 1 

Are you ready to THRIVE? Make the jump to a better you by joining us for our deep-dive workshop sessions with industry leaders. Choose your path from PERSONAL POWER, FINANCIAL WELLNESS, and BUSINESS INNOVATION. 

See here for more on each of our Deep-Dive Workshops. 

2:30 – 2:55 PM  |  Continue Breakout Sessions — Networking & Group Discussion

Take center stage at this multi-participant discussion with the Workshop Facilitators! Attendees have the opportunity to engage with the Facilitators and each other by sharing their feedback and voicing their reactions to the content.

Participants are encouraged to share their own best practices with the group related to the topic discussed on the panel. This Peer-to-Peer Sharing is a tried-and-true collaborative learning experience that helps everyone expand their business knowledge.

General Session: Women’s Panel 

3:00 – 3:30 PM |  THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success

These women have struggled against the odds, not only during the Covid-19 pandemic but also in their industries and their businesses. They understand that it is essential to excel and show confidence and vision as well as have a well-rounded set of skills to effectively run their businesses. Continuously developing those competencies is essential to not only help your business grow, but thrive. Listen to their fantastic stories!

Panelist: Maria Piastre, CEO, Metallix Refining

Panelist: Jessie Gabriel, CEO, All-Places

Panelist: Marvina Robinson, CEO, Stuyvesant Champagne

FACILITATOR: Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business

Fireside Chat 

 

3:45 – 4:00 PM  |  Fireside Chat

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America for Vogue, GQ and AD, Jose Forteza, will sit one-on-one with Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder Albania Rosario and touch on the important topic of how mainstream media can support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs and be more inclusive of their stories.

Deep Dive Workshops

4:00 – 4:30 PM  |  Workshop Session 2 

Continue THRIVING! with our second session of deep-dive, informative workshops. Choose from exciting topics such as: 

  • PERSONAL POWER – The Sandwich Generation: Thrive while Homeschooling, Caregiving and Running a Business
  • FINANCIAL WELLNESS – Why Am I Not a Million Dollar Company? Understanding Alternative Sources of Funding 
  • BUSINESS INNOVATION – Bottom Line: Sustainable Practices that Increase Your Business Bottom Line

4:30 – 4:55 PM  |  Continue Breakout Sessions — Networking & Group Discussion

Engage with the Workshop Facilitators and each other by sharing their feedback and voicing their reactions to the content.

Participants are encouraged to share their own best practices with the group related to the topic discussed on the panel. This Peer-to-Peer Sharing is a tried-and-true collaborative learning experience that helps everyone expand their business knowledge.

General Session: Men’s Panel

5:00 – 5:30 PM  |  Enlisting Men’s Support to Expand and Grow your Networks

Women entrepreneurs don’t often have the gender ally benefits that their counterparts in corporate America may be offered. Join us and our panel of gender equality advocates as they share with us why enlisting men to grow and expand your networks can offer a valuable perspective. There is no one approach to break gender barrier challenges, so we’ll explore how different strategies may serve different needs and real-life examples of partnerships in which our panelists have taken part.

Panelist: Damian Rivera, CEO ALPFA

Panelist: Thomas Savino, CEO, Prospanica

Panelist: Ron Gonzales, President and CEO, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley

FACILITATOR: Maria del Pilar Avila, Latinas in Business Inc. CEO InterDUCTUS/Renovad

Keynote Speaker and Closing Remarks

Keynote Speaker, Alice Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of JPMC Community Impact JPMorgan Chase & Co.

5:40 PM – 5:55 PM | Keynote Speaker: Alice Rodriguez, USHCC Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Bank of America, Managing Director, Global Corporate & Investment Banking

5:55 PM – 6:00 PM |  Closing Remarks: Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Bank of America, Managing Director, Global Corporate & Investment Banking 

Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony 

Latina Leaders Awards,

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awardees

6:00 PM – 6:45 PM  |  Latina Leaders Awards Ceremony

Twelve inspiring and influential Latina Leaders will be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit in a hybrid awards ceremony streaming Live from New York City. 

6:15 PM  | Remarks: Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn Assembly-member, New York State’s 42nd Assembly District

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Hon. Assembly-member, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (Photo courtesy 42nd Assembly District)

SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION: Wendy Garcia, CDO, NYC Office of the Comptroller Scott Stringer

resources for women

Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer of the NYC Office of the Comptroller

 

6:45 – 8:00 PM  |  Live Reception (By invitation only)

We hope to see you tomorrow for this spectacular event!

Register now and join us to THRIVE!

2021 WEES

Final Lineup of Stellar Speakers to support THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Announcing final lineup of stellar speakers for the Latinas in Business THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit  (2021 WEES) to support Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs. 

2021 WEES

THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit Speakers Lineup.

We are pleased to announce our final lineup of speakers for the Latinas in Business THRIVE! 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (2021 WEES), a unique conference that year after year gathers successful Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs to Learn. Connect. Succeed!  

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel them forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will feature various panels with industry leaders, inspiring guest speakers, deep-dive workshops, and our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

Register now at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/

Announcing Final Lineup of speakers for THRIVE! 2021 WEES 

Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College

Michael J. Smith, Co-Host – Michael J. Smith is the President of Berkeley College. Since his appointment as President in 2015, Mr. Smith has been unwavering in his commitment to student success. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Smith, Berkeley College has expanded its reach among diverse communities, including through prominent Latino and African-American organizations. In addition, the College has been recognized for its volunteer and community service contributions, and was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. 

Before joining Berkeley College, Mr. Smith was Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of MetLife Realty Group. He is also an accomplished public servant. He was twice elected to represent the 55,000 residents of District 3 on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 2012 to 2015, serving as the Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Capital Projects during the 2014-15 legislative term. 

Mr. Smith is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Fairfield University.

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

Lucy Pinto, Opening Keynote Speaker – Lucy Pinto is the Grow with Google Program Manager. 

As the Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources by providing them with the digital tools and resources to succeed. 

Additionally, Lucy is a thought leader, a consultant, and a partner who helps teams at Google audit and anticipate inclusion needs as well as implement strategies to make better products, processes, and services. 

Currently, she manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. Prior to her role as Program Manager, Lucy served as Diversity Systems & Programs Design Manager at Google, and Business Inclusion Program Manager. 

Lucy received her B.B.A in Management and International Business from the University of Georgia. 

Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Managing Director, Global Corporate Banking, Bank of America Securities.

Patricia Pacheco de Baez, Closing Remarks – Patricia Pacheco is a managing director in Global Corporate Banking at BofA Securities, the institutional broker dealer business of Bank of America. 

Pacheco is responsible for Latin America and European large corporate subsidiaries with $2bn above in global annual sales based in North America. In this capacity, she manages a $60M portfolio and has driven more than 316% growth in revenues since 2014 when she joined the firm. 

Pacheco has been actively involved in leading many Hispanic and employee network initiatives throughout the course of her career. She currently serves as co-chair of Bank of America’s Hispanic Latino Executive Council and emeritus chair of the firm’s Hispanic Network Executive Advisory Board (HOLA NY).

Pacheco holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Manhattanville College with dual majors in international business and Latin America studies.

Alice Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of JPMC Community Impact and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman. 

Alice Rodriguez, Keynote Speaker – Alice Rodriguez is the Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Head of JPMC Community Impact Organization. 

Alice Rodriguez has over 30 years of extensive banking experience with JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors. She has held executive positions in Business Banking, Consumer Banking and Wealth Management. Her most current role is Head of JPMC Community Impact Organization. 

She provides strategic counsel and serves an integral leadership role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategy. In this capacity, Alice collaborates with Corporate Responsibility to bring together the best of business, philanthropy and policy efforts to drive inclusive economic growth. Alice leads the Community Impact team that is driving the firm’s a $30B commitment to advancing racial equity.

A trailblazer in her field, Alice has a natural tenacity, tempered with a steadied approach in both life and business. In a career spanning three decades, she has put people and purpose first, supporting community efforts beyond her corporate responsibilities. A lifelong commitment to minority-driven causes has earned her numerous board appointments and accolades including her current role as Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Alice holds a BBA in Management from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Latina Leaders Award Ceremony Remarks – Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman/District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. She is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), which serves to promote economic diversity in New York State.

Bichotte Hermelyn, a former Wall Street banker, engineer and small business owner, has leveraged her experience in the free market to push public-private partnership initiatives across the state.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she championed bills to jump start the economy and improve equity for minority and women-owned small business owners. Bichotte Hermelyn hosted a webinar and participated in several panels with MWBE stakeholders to help them navigate the Coronavirus crisis and access resources, including grants and loans, and helped with strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. 

She provides annually, a platform that promotes networking, education, and resources for existing or potential MWBEs through a series of workshops at the National Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Conference. Under her leadership, the number of certified MWBE firms in New York State has more than doubled. The state has also set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 30% of all state contracts, the highest rate in the nation. 

Bichotte Hermelyn holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and four undergraduate degrees in mathematics and engineering. She is currently a Juris Doctorate Candidate at Brooklyn Law School.

You might be interested: Vogue Senior Editor Latin America Jose Forteza and Univision Correspondent Daneida Polanco to support THRIVE! 2021 WEES

2021 WEES

Register now for this must-attend event! Only 3 days left! 

Latina Leaders Awards,

12 Latina Leaders to be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards – Twelve inspiring and influential Latina Leaders will be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit in a hybrid awards ceremony streaming Live from New York City, June 10th at 6:00 PM EDT. 

Latina Leaders Awards,

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders Awards – 12 inspiring Latina Leaders to be honored at the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit.

With THRIVE! as our motto this year, the 2021 Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (#2021 WEES) will center on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners with tools and insights that will propel business owners and entrepreneurs  forward to THRIVE in the “new normal.” 

The event will feature inspiring guest speakers, various panels with industry leaders, and deep-dive workshops, as well as our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions and post-panel discussion forums.

The hybrid event takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in a Virtual Space, followed by the Latina Leaders Awards ceremony from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus (by invitation only).

Register now at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/

2020 – 2021 Latina Leaders’ Awards 

This year, we are honoring 12 Latina Leaders from the past year who have been inspirations to us all as entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven women. Read on to learn a little bit about these influential leaders and check out their full stories here on Latinas in Business!

Alicia Puig, Latina Leader

Leader of May: Alicia Puig

Alicia Puig is the CEO and co-founder of the digital art gallery PxP Contemporary, Director of Business Operations for Create! Magazine, an arts writer, co-author of the book The Complete Smartist Guide, and a regular guest host of The Create! Podcast. She has worked in the arts industry for over ten years both in the US and abroad. Alicia and co-founder, Ekaterina Popova, created PxP Contemporary as a fully digital art gallery and platform that connects collectors with high-quality, affordable artworks. The idea behind PxP was to create a platform that challenges the traditional art gallery model and make the process of buying art a more accessible, digital-friendly experience for both artists and art-lovers. 

Albania Rosario, Latina Leaders Awards

Leader of June: Albania Rosario 

Albania Rosario is the CEO and founder of Fashion Designers of Latin America (FDLA), entrepreneur, and Latinas in Business Executive Board Member. Through FDLA, Albania has brought Latin American designers to the world stage at New York Fashion Week and around the world. In 2020, Albania inspired innovation when FDLA went virtual for the first time for New York Fashion Week in a dynamic digital show that blended streaming and interactive media for a unique digital experience. The same year, Albania launched the fundraising project, “Las Caras Detrás De La Moda En Latino América,” which shined a spotlight on the stories of artists and designers during the pandemic. 

Leader of July: Veronica Sosa

Veronica Sosa is an award-winning International Speaker, Relational Capital Expert, author and entrepreneur. She is a mother, mentor, coach, and publisher and founder of Business Fit International, Business Fit Magazine, and SHE (Seminar and Society for Hispanic Entrepreneurs). Through her various ventures, Veronica is working to help lead Hispanic women entrepreneurs on their professional journeys toward greatness and success. SHE is the first community of its kind in central Europe that brings together like-minded Hispanic women and offers resources, community, mentorship, and special events that help women build their skills as entrepreneurs and business owners and achieve their dreams. 

Jessica K Asencio

Leader of August: Jessica Asencio 

We celebrate the life of Jessica Asencio, who was a Diversity & Inclusion leader at JPMorgan Chase where she was recognized as a Diversity Champion. Jessica was also the founder of the Latino Networks Coalition (LNC). Born in Ecuador and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Jessica dedicated her life to supporting Latino-Hispanic causes and uplifting their voices in the workplace. Jessica is remembered by friends, family, and colleagues as an extraordinary and passionate leader who left a lasting impact on everyone she met, and a leader who led by example with optimism, strength, devotion, and focus. She is greatly missed but never forgotten. 

Leader of September: Beth Marmolejos

Beth Marmolejos is a business leader, activist, and advocate who strives toward serving as a champion for change daily in both her personal and professional life. Beth serves on numerous boards that support and serve women and minority communities. Some of her positions include  Madame Chair of the Passaic County Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the Passaic County Advocacy and Abilities Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Chair of the American Association of University Women – Greater Wayne Area, and President of the New Jersey Prospanica Chapter, formerly known as The National Society of Hispanics MBAs. She also currently serves as Latinas in Business’ Programs and Events Coordinator & Vice President. 

Leader of October: Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas is an award-winning journalist, news anchor, and author. Called the “Voice of Hispanic America” by The New York Times, Salinas is one of the most recognized Hispanic female journalists in the United States. In a career that spans nearly four decades, Salinas has interviewed world leaders and covered virtually every major national and international news event of our time. Her work has earned the top awards presented in broadcasting, including multiple Emmys, a Peabody, Gracie Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. 

Leader of November: Maria Piastre

Maria Piastre is the President of Metallix Refining Inc. Maria came to Metallix Refining in 2006 and soon rose through the ranks in the company and in 2017, after only 12 years working in the male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre  was appointed company President, a surprising yet humbling experience. As President, Maria brings to the position a new generation of values that transcends gender and instead is based in learning and reward based on individual merit. Her story is an inspiration to Latinas everywhere that there are no limits to what we can achieve. 

Leader of December: Mariela Dabbah

Mariela Dabbah is the founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement (RSM), a TEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies interested in inclusive cultures. Through the Red Shoe Movement, Mariela champions for gender equality and inclusion in the workplace with efforts such as the popular awareness campaign known as Red Shoe Tuesday, which invites everyone to wear their red shoes and ties to work every Tuesday to show support for women’s career advancement and success. 

Leader of January: Claudia Vazquez 

Claudia Vazquez is a bilingual and bicultural Latina Leader with over 20 years experience in the insurance and benefits industry. In her work she is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, education, and uplifting the voices of women and Hispanics in the marketplace. Currently he serves as a Director of Product Management within Prudential’s Group Insurance Customer Solutions Unit where she leads the Business Resolution Team. In addition to her work at Prudential, she also serves as a Board Trustee of BRICK – Achieve Community Charter School, which services elementary children. 

Leader of February: Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza

Maria Elena Noel-Vaeza is the Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean. A Uruguayan native, she holds a doctorate in Law and Social Sciences from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a master’s degree in public policy from John Hopkins University in Washington DC. Prior to this role, Maria-Noel served as Director of the Program Division at UN Women headquarters in New York. She has also served as Political Counselor at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington DC and delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Damaris Diaz, Latina Leaders Awards

Leader of March: Damaris Diaz 

Damaris Diaz is an accomplished multicultural and bi-lingual Marketing Media Professional, broadcast correspondent, and TV personality. She appears on Univision’s national morning show, Despierta America, where she focuses on entertainment, promotional movie features, fitness, and unique human interest stories. Damaris has received two Emmy nominations and many special recognitions from diverse organizations. Throughout her career, Damaris has interviewed a long list of Hollywood stars such as Mick Jagger, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, and Rita Moreno as well as world-renowned singers/performers like Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz among others. 

2021 Small Business Champion Award 

resources for women, Wendy Garcia, Latina Leaders Awards

Wendy Garcia

Wendy Garcia is a skilled leader and champion for small businesses. Currently she serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. As Chief Diversity Officer, Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing the Comptroller Office’s internal supplier diversity initiative, as well as other diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. Wendy also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group of national, local, corporate, and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors. 

2021 WEES

Don’t miss out on this must-attend event for all entrepreneurs, business owners, and career driven professionals. Register Today!

Vogue Senior Editor Latin America Jose Forteza and Univision Correspondent Daneida Polanco to support THRIVE! 2021 WEES

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America for Vogue, GQ and AD, Jose Forteza, will sit one-on-one with Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder Albania Rosario while Univision Entertainment Correspondent Daneida Polanco will be the MC at the third annual Latinas in Business Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit.

Jose Forteza, Albania Rosario, 2021 WEES

Vogue Senior Editor Latin America, Jose Forteza and Fashion Designers of Latin America’s founder, Albania Rosario, to sit in Fire-Side Chat at 2021 WEES.

Celebrities are stepping up to support Latinas and minority women entrepreneurs at the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (2021 WEES), a unique virtual conference that takes place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm. 

Condé Nast Senior Editor for Mexico and Latin America Jose Forteza (Vogue, AD and GQ) and Univision Entertainment Correspondent Daneida Polanco will participate at the upcoming event to help promote the mission of Latinas in Business Inc.  Registration is now open at https://2021wees.eventbrite.com/.

Born in Havana of Spanish and Cuban descent, José Forteza has lived in Europe, Dominican Republic and the United States. Currently, Forteza is the Senior Editor of Condé Nast (Vogue, GQ and AD) for Mexico and Latin America, and has been in Condé Nast Publications for more than 20 years.

The fascinating creator has explored every aspect of the arts including dance, music and publishing. He is a TV writer, producer and radio host. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award and is a Producer Grammy Award winner.

Daneida Polanco

Univision Entertainment Correspondent, Daneida Polanco. (Photo courtesy Daneida Polanco)

“I expect this Fireside to bring some light on a difficult topic in the Fashion and Luxury industries, which is the lack of real inclusion of minority women not only as protagonists but also as a huge and upcoming market. With some exceptions, women of color are still largely invisible in mainstream media,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

Daneida Polanco is currently the New York correspondent for “Primer Impacto”, Univision Network, one of the most popular TV shows for the Hispanic Market worldwide. Born in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic. This dashing Latina arrived in the United States when she was 18 years old and soon began studying Mass Media Arts at the Bronx Community College in New York. She continued to work her way up to become one of the most thought-after Spanish television correspondents. 

Baumann continued…“Latinas and other women entrepreneurs are a striking force in the US economy; and a powerful market that spends 9 times in beauty and hair products than their white counterparts. They cannot be left behind. We are grateful to leaders like Jose Forteza and Daneida Polanco who are supporting our mission to keep women entrepreneurs not only surviving but also thriving during the difficult pandemic economic transition,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

You might be interested: THRIVE! What to expect from deep-dive workshops at 2021 WEES

2021 WEES, Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit,

Register Now for this must-attend event